At €8,040 million, consolidated revenues in the first half of 2015 were 2.5 percent above the previous year’s figure (H1 2014: €7,846 million). Adjusted for exchange rate effects of 4.9 percent and portfolio and other effects of -1.9 percent, there was an organic decline in revenues of -0.5 percent.
Revenues of RTL Group increased compared with the same period in the previous year. This was primarily due to good business at Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, the expansion of the digital activities and favorable exchange rate effects. Penguin Random House achieved a significant increase in revenues due to exchange rate effects. At Gruner + Jahr, revenues fell compared with the same period in the previous year, primarily due to the sale of the printing business in the United States in May 2014. The digital activities’ rising revenues could only partly compensate for further decline in the advertising business. Compared to the previous year, Arvato achieved higher revenues in the business units Customer Relationship Management, Financial Solutions and IT Solutions. Revenues at Be Printers were affected by the decline of the print businesses, particularly in gravure printing, and also by the sale of the Italian, Spanish and South American print businesses. Revenues at Corporate Investments increased significantly compared with the same period in the previous year. While the education and music fields recorded significant revenue growth due to acquisitions, the club and direct-marketing businesses were scaled back further.
Due to the continued strategic transformation and the weakness in the euro, there were changes in the geographical breakdown of revenues compared to the same period in the previous year. Revenue share in Germany was 34.0 percent, compared to 35.2 percent in the first half of 2014. The revenue share generated by France amounted to 14.0 percent (H1 2014: 15.2 percent). In the UK, revenue share was 5.9 percent (H1 2014: 5.7 percent), while other European countries achieved a lower revenue share of 17.8 percent (H1 2014: 18.8 percent). The share of total revenues generated in the United States rose to 21.5 percent (H1 2014: 18.9 percent); other countries accounted for a share of 6.8 percent (H1 2014: 6.2 percent). With these, the total share of revenues represented by foreign business increased slightly, from 64.8 percent in the first half of 2014 to 66.0 percent. The ratio of the four revenue streams (products and merchandise, advertising and services as well as rights and licenses) to one another remained mostly unchanged compared to the first half of 2014.
Bertelsmann achieved operating EBITDA of €1,063 million during the reporting period (H1 2014: €1,018 million). The EBITDA margin of 13.2 percent was above the level of 13.0 percent in the same period last year.
The operating earnings of RTL Group improved compared to the first half of 2014. The increase is mainly attributable to the positive development of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland. Penguin Random House also recorded an increase in operating EBITDA. This was primarily due to the higher earnings contributions of the book-publishing business in the United States and UK, mainly caused by exchange rate effects. The operating EBITDA of Gruner + Jahr was below the previous year’s figure, due to lower revenues in the German and international advertising business. Operating earnings of Arvato increased compared to the same period last year. Declining volumes and price pressure at Be Printers led to a decline in earnings. The significantly increased operating EBITDA of Corporate Investments primarily reflects positive development in the music business as well as a higher earnings contribution from the investment funds and the education business.
The special items came to a total of €-101 million, compared to €-172 million in the same period last year. They consisted of impairment losses and reversals of impairment losses totaling €-5 million (H1 2014: €-98 million), fair value remeasurement of investments of €5 million (H1 2014: €2 million), results from disposals of investments of €17 million (H1 2014: €6 million), restructuring expenses and other special items totaling €-118 million (H1 2014: €-82 million).
Adjusting operating EBITDA for special items totaling €-101 million (H1 2014: €-172 million) and the amortization, depreciation, impairments and reversals of impairments on intangible assets and property, plant and equipment totaling €-1 million (H1 2014: €-100 million), which were not included in special items, EBIT amounted to €670 million in the reporting period (H1 2014: 557 million).
Group Profit or Loss
The financial result was €-119 million (H1 2014: €-125 million). Tax expenses were €-156 million, compared to €-178 million in the same period last year. The reduced tax expense is mainly attributable to the recognition of prior-period taxes and special items in connection with the measurement of loss carryforwards. Earnings after taxes from continuing operations were thus €395 million (H1 2014: €254 million). Earnings after taxes from discontinued operations were €3 million (H1 2014: €3 million). The Group profit increased to €398 million (H1 2014: €257 million). The share of Group profit held by Bertelsmann shareholders was €217 million (H1 2014: €124 million). The non-controlling interests in the Group profit came to €181 million (H1 2014: €133 million).